News - Election 2014
Although the Independent Election Commission (IEC) has pushed back the release of the preliminary list of Presidential candidates until Tuesday, TOLOnews received a tip from an Afghan official on condition of anonymity indicating more than half of the current 26 registered candidates would be eliminated from field.
According to the source, who requested to remain unnamed due to the sensitive nature of the issue, there are prominent candidates amongst those who are to be cut from the list of eligibles. But no specific names were provided.
The IEC was supposed to release the preliminary list of candidates on Saturday, October 19, but failed to complete the vetting process it had begun over ten days prior on time. During the process, one candidate was announced disqualified for failing to meet the Commission's criteria, however, officials refused to disclose the person's identity or any specifics about the grounds for the disqualification.
Many experts and Afghan political figures have advocated for a consolidated field of candidates for the Presidential elections, warning that if it stays as crowded as it is at the moment the election could run into a second stage and the legitimacy of the victor called into question. But if TOLOnews' anonymous source proves correct, the candidate field for the spring Presidential elections would be cut in half before the final list is released.
No comments have been made by officials on how the three-day delay in publication of the preliminarly list may affect the broader timeline originally set by the IEC, which had the final list of candidates released on November 16.
Officials of the Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC) said on Sunday that out of the over 20 complaints against Presidential and Provincial Council candidates that it has received, eight were of a less serious nature and have already been resolved. The other twelve it said would be addressed after the preliminary list of candidates is announced on Tuesday, with their results then being applied to the final version.
The ECC assesses all complaints in the presence of representatives from a variety of organization types, including civil society, human rights advocacy, election observation and media.
Nader Mohseni, the spokesman of the ECC, said that any complaints related to human rights violations would be forwarded on to the courts and evaluated by accredited judges.
"If we receive any human rights violations complaints, they will be handed over to the judicial institutions," Mohseni said. "If candidates are found guilty by the judicial institutions, they will be excluded from the elections."
In addition to the ECC's job, part of the vetting of nominated candidates includes the verification of their citizenship status. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) oversees that part of the process. According to MoFA officials, no candidates with dual citizenship would be allowed to contest the elections.
"A commission led by Ministry of Foreign Affairs, with members from Ministry of Interior, Supreme Court, Ministry of Justice and National Directorate of Security has been formed to review the documents submitted by the Presidential and Provincial Council candidates to ensure they all have single citizenship," explained Janan Mosazai, the MoFA spokesman.
Afghanistan Democracy Watchdog (ADW) joined the Free and Fair Election Foundation of Afghanistan (FEFA) on Sunday in expressing concerns about the IEC's delayed release of the preliminary list of candidates. ADW representatives called on the IEC to implement the rest of the pre-election process in strict accordance to the Election Laws, which include the timeline.